Day 3 –June 21
Second night at sea, and entered the gulfstream in the early morning.
I was off-watch, and in the forward berth as we entered the gulf stream. Squalls picked up the seas and it was a bumpy ride as we crashed into the waves. Laying in my bunk trying to sleep I thought back to earlier seafarers and drawings I have seen of dark seas shrouded in mist, raging storms, and snake-like seamonsters lurking near square-rigged ships.
I emerged from my bunk to a cockpit of wet sailors and squalls. We entered the core of the gulfstream current at 11:00, which helped boost our speed to 10.2 knots.
One of the complexities of crossing the Atlantic ocean is remediating the impacts of the gulfstream current. Most of us know about the basic current flow from the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida, to northern Europe, which then sinks as a cold current and returns South. In reality though, there are arm-like offshoots from the main current, and large areas of spinning eddies that can stay active for years. These create beneficial or opposing currents that can help or hinder progress.
A second complexity is the prevailing weather. On this trip, remnants of TS Bill, moving through New England and easterly off shore created strong winds in opposition to the gulfstream current. This combination increases the seas, wave heights, and compresses the wave frequency.
As we progress through the gulfstream area, we recorded steady winds of 28-32 knots, and top winds of around 36 knots. The crew remained mainly on deck, and meals were reduced in proportion to the crew's appetite, and the challenges of cooking while heeled over. Cookie of the day "You are Here" (in the ocean)!
As the weather built we settled on the third-reef in the mainsail, and second reef in the genoa, which contributed to a lively, but manageable, sail. With an extended period of strong winds, we made good progress and closed the day with 265 nm behind us.